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Questions Answered by Richard Sternberg
1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Virginia on
Q: We had a home inspector who missed numerous things costing $4K to fix - how do we get $ from ther failed inspection?

The old owner had a low-budget handyman install a new shower surround and floor pan. It was install very poorly with no support in the walls for the panel seams, no support for the floor pan, and a loose drain. It took about $4k to have the shower disassembled and walls re-studded to handle the... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Feb 13, 2024

You need to review the contract with the home inspector very carefully. If you did not negotiate and modify the contract, it insulates the inspector from most if not all claims, and, when it doesn't insulate them, it limits damages to refunding your inspection fee. That will surely be. shock... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Virginia on
Q: What are my legal options?

My mother passed away last year and was living on family owned land that was supposed to be put in her name and never was. The land is part of my grandfathers estate that passed away 1987-88.Now there is a dispute on how much land there is in the estate my grandfather left that was never... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jan 22, 2024

Your alternatives are to get a competent lawyer to review the titles and the estates so you can make a proper claim in this "heir property" case; or, you can bend over and wait to find where the moon don't shine. If you think this is a DIY case, you are making the second choice. The... View More

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3 Answers | Asked in Civil Litigation, Contracts and Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: 3 siblings inherit home 2 want to sell 1 doesn't. What are our options

Home in hyattsville.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jan 10, 2024

It’s not a majority vote issue. If any owner wants to sell, they can petition for sake in lieu of partition. The attorney fees will be reimbursed from the sale. The only defenses are that the property can be partitioned or the tenant in residence gets the notice given to tenants. Get counsel.

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law, Construction Law and Land Use & Zoning for Virginia on
Q: If there are two equal adjacent lots (A and B) to be developed into homes.

Lot A is owned by property owner #1 and Lot B is owned equally by property owner #1 and #2. If you build homes how should the development cost/profits from sales/shares work out?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jan 4, 2024

The short answer is "any way you want to." There are many choices. If you make no choices, the Uniform Partnership Act will make them for you, and you may not like its choices. Indeed, it won't be clear whether you have a partnership of the one property or of the two, and the one to... View More

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Maryland on
Q: Is it legal for the executor of an estate to force a benificiary to pay for a mortgage on a house they inherited?

Two sisters inherited a house with a mortgage now one sister wants the other sister to quit claim deed the house. Said sister is also the executor of the estate and is forcing my wife to either pay half the mortgage or quit claim on said house

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Dec 5, 2023

It might be easier for you to think of this a different way. If the course was inherited by both sister, each has the right to use the undivided whole, and either has the right to demand that it be sold and the proceeds after paying off the mortgage split. If you cannot reach another agreement,... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Real Estate Law, Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: Two bro own house . One lives in house, one at the lake Can lake bro come in home whenever no notice Can I trespass him.

Property was inherited from deceased parents. Older bro lives in house, gets his mail there and pays all house hold bills from home. The small bro lives elsewhere for years bu shows up and uses his childhoid key to come in house unannounced and uninvited. The last time he did this we called the... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Dec 2, 2023

If one brother wishes exclusive use of the house, then he needs to buy the other brother’s half. Merely paying the bills doesn’t change that both brothers own it. Both brothers may use the undivided whole house. I know of no requirement for notice unless there is a lease in place giving... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Landlord - Tenant for Virginia on
Q: What is the best way to make an occupant leave your home permanently? Can it be done in 30 days?
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Nov 1, 2023

You are missing a few facts, and, without the facts, any answer can't get any better than raging, bleeding malpractice. Further, revealing the facts in an open, Internet forum can be a raging disaster, potentially rising to the point that anything you tell the lawyer related to the facts you... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Found out my marriage is Void Ab Initio.. how do I get a decree from local Judge that confirms this? Form required?

I've seen a form in some areas of Virginia but others not. Is it the same petition form as a divorce?

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Oct 20, 2023

I’ve had annulments before, and I’d suppose that’s what this is. It’s either contested or uncontested, but either way, it’s not a form. There may be forms that help you prepare it pro se, but it’s a Complaint. And, if you were defrauded, there may be damages. I’d suggest you start... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: What do you need to do to get a gift deed off of a home when the notary was family and now says she owns part of home?

The home was owned jointly and equally by my husband his father mother and sister. No one gave any art of it away. My husbands niece says years ago after his mother passed that the 3 remaining owners signed over part of the home to the 2 remaining sisters but the gift deed wasn't filed with... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Sep 20, 2023

Your description is complex, and the details are critical. The matter is also likely to be time-critical. Any opinion rendered without reviewing the documents and the facts, and likely after some light research on race (not ethnic, but means of filing) recording and duties of notaries in your... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: Can I sue my HOA for never cutting grass on time from the company they hire to do it?

I have had to lodge complaints at least four times regarding the failure to cut the grass in accordance with the HOA Agreement. On occasions where management has reportedly contacted the landscaping company, the grass was cut, but the problem persists with each subsequent service. As of today,... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 26, 2023

In most jurisdictions, the law and the courts treat HOAs as local democracies. If they violate their "constitutions," i.e., the Declarations and, to some extent, other adopted "laws," you might get a court not to grant a motion to dismiss. For the most part, your remedy is to... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: Can a buyer add that a boathouse roof needs replaced after a home inspection? When it’s not part of the inspection

And it was not on contract to have dock or pier inspected

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 20, 2023

It depends on what the contract says, but the option to terminate the contract expires at the time stated in the contract. You should read the contract carefully or get counsel to review it immediately.

2 Answers | Asked in Probate for Virginia on
Q: What is the easiest way to file a petition city of Chesapeake asking a judge to appoint an executor for my mothers estat

Va is a majority rules state and 5/7 siblings have agreed that the property needs to be sold we are not allowed in it by opposing siblings and she prior to mother’s death isolated her until we took legal action

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 2, 2023

AFAIK, Virginia is not a "majority rules" state as to partition or sale in lieu of partition of land. Any owner of jointly held land can more for sale in lieu of partition if the property is inherently indivisible. I don't understand the rest of your question or description, so... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law for Maryland on
Q: My brother was a joint owner of a house, but passed away. The deed states, “rights to survivorship”

The “survivor” is telling me that because my brother had open judgements, I have to pay for them (satisfy the liens) before he “the survivor” can sell the house. How is this true? The asset (jointly owned house) was not part of any probate.

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Aug 1, 2023

The answer depends on whether the liens are recorded on the property or, under state law, are implicitly liened against title, so the correct answer is to get a lawyer, do a title search, and resolve title. But, as a general matter, if, under state law, the lien was recorded against the property,... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: scenario . . . three sibilings receive a residental house through an estate ( beginning june 2022 )

an agreement is reached between siblings and one of them buys out the other two ( april 2023 ), so the house is now owned by one person ( sibling ). i am buying this house ( july 2023 ) with title insurance. do i need to worry about any future lawsuit from any of the siblings ? extended... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jul 7, 2023

Before you close, your title agent will order a title abstract that shows who holds legal title. The insurance company and your lender will not allow the closing to proceed if the seller does not have good title. While it's best to read the actual contract to be sure of this, it's more... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Virginia on
Q: Hi I’m a 18 year old female and my boyfriend is 25 can my dad press charges against him in any way
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 24, 2023

In any way? Well, of course. If your boyfriend commits a crime, your father can report it. Indeed, if your boyfriend does not commit a crime, your father can make a false report of it thereby subjecting himself to a charge of False Statement or even perjury. But, if you are asking whether the... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Landlord - Tenant and Real Estate Law for Virginia on
Q: An estate is trying to evict us. The owner died but we paid him a cash towards the property with verbal agreement.

We made a gentlemans agreement with the owner to rent to own his property. We paid him $25k for down payment and as a show of good faith he wrote us a quit claim for 2 trailers on the land. He passed and now the estate is trying to evict us with refusal of any funds, but the beneficiary (his... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 19, 2023

Oral agreements on real estate are not binding. All contracts regarding real estate must be in writing. Sometimes, a writing can be found from things that aren’t thought of as writings, such as an email, receipt, or check. You need to review your specific facts including every written... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law and Construction Law for Maryland on
Q: Who fixes dryer vent? Can HOA bill for uncompleted work? Is HOA responsible for damages caused by delay & violation?

Mold/mildew caused by dryer vented to inside. I was not informed of it at purchase and I found out its against building code while researching this. Contractor came 4 times in 2 year period. I had to keep asking. Holes cut in wall for inspection by their contractor have not been repaired. I'm... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 12, 2023

The answer will depend on who owns what in your condo or HOA, who was responsible for the construction flaw, and who knew of the defect and concealed it. Unless the repair is worth less than the cost of the legal involvement, you may want to have the HOA docs, the advertising and closing docs, and... View More

2 Answers | Asked in Real Estate Law and Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: 2nd great grandfather leaves 85 acres to 14 children and all descendants, 1 still alive. Every descendant entitled?

a family trust was established and every document mentioned every child by name and says and their descendants have a shared right to use of the land. 2nd great grandfather died in 1930 and up until 1986 all documents list all siblings, some of their children(my deceased grandmother was named) and... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 7, 2023

The argument is most likely specious, but real estate title is decided by what the documents say, not what you say. Buy a consult with a lawyer licensed in the state where the property lies, get a title search, and get a reliable answer. You need to do this before you surrender your and your... View More

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Virginia on
Q: My spouse and I own a home together. We both have adult kids from previous marriage. If one of us should die without

a will in place, does the step kids automatically get part of the home? Or will the home go to the surviving spouse? in Virginia

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 2, 2023

You need a will or a trust or careful retitling of the house. If you own the house by tenants by entireties, then it will pass outside of probate to the survivor of the two of you, and it will go entirely to the survivor's children after the survivor passes. The other children will get... View More

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Landlord - Tenant, Real Estate Law and Internet Law for Maryland on
Q: Can I take legal action against HABC.org (Housing Authority of Baltimore City) for False Advertisement?

I have two rental properties in Baltimore City that I wanted to lease out in October 22'. I came across an article/press release online advertising a $1,500 incentive for new landlord's who signed up with program. I begin working with the program and due to their own continuous mistakes... View More

Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
answered on Jun 1, 2023

You want to retain a lawyer to file a suit against what is either a government agency or a public-private partnership which might have a regulatory layer that requires some specialization, and the amount of your lawsuit will be for $3,000. Is that right? The non-refundable retainer from counsel in... View More

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